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This week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the fiscal year 2014 budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Among other things, the proposal would

  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • Drastically cut federal student aid by capping the maximum award amount and limiting eligibility for grants
  • Cut taxes by $5.7 trillion over the next decade, with the benefits flowing disproportionately to very wealthy households

The budget would do a lot of other things, but for me, this list is personal. This budget isn’t just numbers, it’s about people. It’s about you and me: our hopes, our education, and our opportunities.

I graduated from college last May, in the midst of an economic recession that was on the upswing. Armed with my liberal arts degree, I applied for various jobs in different fields, as I was open to many different opportunities. The passage of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the fact that I can stay on my parents’ health insurance plan until I am 26, was life-changing for me and most of my friends; it has made a huge difference in my life decisions. I am lucky to have no major health issues, but I know that if I did not have health insurance I would always be worried I might get sick and have no alternatives to going to the emergency room, where I might incur a huge hospital fee I couldn’t afford.

Right now I am an intern in the Public Policy Department at AAUW. I realized I wanted to become more involved in politics and work toward equality for women overall. When I moved to Washington, D.C., I was able to take this internship without worrying about where and how I would get health insurance.

Insurance is for a disaster, and the reassurance that I am covered if something comes up is a huge relief. I have comfort in knowing that if I were to get really sick, I would be taken care of. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would take that away from me.

Additionally, preventive care and forms of birth control and early diagnosis such as free mammograms are covered by my parents’ insurance, which reduces my worry about major health problems. In fact, with wellness care and preventive care, it is less likely that I will develop a major health problem.

While this is my experience, I know there are many people in a similar situation and many others without the luxury of staying on their parents’ plans. Because of this, I believe repealing or defunding the Affordable Care Act would be a huge mistake and would take away necessary benefits from people who deserve them.

I don’t think Ryan’s budget is the right path for our country. I know it’s not right for me. Contact your representative if you agree.


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